The Weekend Round-Up:
December 1-3

Ice skating on the National Mall…so quintessentially DC


Happy Weekend!

Quick links to ideas galore for ongoing DC fun:
* The Great Indoors
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
Autumn Adventures
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Kid-Friendly Eats
* Bike Rides
* Baltimore with Kids
* Peaceful Places

‘Tis the Season
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity
There’s holiday fun to be had all over the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. See the delightful model trains and festive decor at the US Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greetings exhibit.Check out Light Yards, the annual illuminated installation at Yards Park.  Experience holiday magic at National Harbor. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest.  Find details on all of these events and more in the 2023 Holiday Guide. (And see some of them listed in this round-up, too.)

Glow with It
Where: Around Georgetown, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free 

See Georgetown in a whole new creative light — literally. Georgetown Glow is back and brightening the neighborhood with modern light art installations on exhibit around the bustling community. Plan to make an evening of it and take the family to dinner at one of the many restaurants there pre- or post-light tour — see some suggestions for kid-friendly dining spots.  Get a glimpse of a past Glow here and a look at last year’s here.

Happy 20th, Udvar-Hazy!
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free (parking, too!)

It’s been almost 20 years since the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Chantilly arm of the Air & Space Museum, opened and they’re celebrating with a day packed full of everything you know and love about the museum. From a behind-the-scenes look at the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar to talks with curators about fascinating artifacts to hands-on activitiesfor the whole fam, the event promises to highlight why the museum is a must-visit destination and look forward to what’s next.

Santa Fly-In
Where: College Park Aviation Museum | College Park, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $5

This will be an experience to remember as you watch Santa fly into the historic College Park Airport (it’s the world’s oldest continuously operating airport)! Make some holiday arts and crafts, then have your picture taken with Santa Claus after his big flight. Photos will be scheduled by reserved time slot. To reserve a slot, send an email to All guests over the age of 2 must have a ticket.

Festival of Lights
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: ThroughJanuary 2, 5-9:30pm
Admission: $10-15/vehicle

We’ve been doing this one since the kids were babes… Watkins’ sweet holiday drive-through event of more than one million twinkling lights has been dazzling holiday-goers for over 25 years. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit from the comfort of your car — bring a thermos of hot chocolate, put on some holiday music, turn on the seat warmers, and take in the adorably festive illuminated scenes.  Purchase tickets in advance online and pay only $8. Even more, if you can snag a limited spot, they are also offering horse-drawn carriage rides this year (extra cost, and preregistration required). For more about Watkins Regional Park, including all there is to enjoy during the day, see this KFDC post.

More Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Even more parks and gardens in the area are brightening up the season with twinkling holiday light displays. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Whatever you choose, you’re in for a dazzling good time.  See where you can enjoy them in the KFDC Holiday Guide.

Holidays on the Ellipse
Where: President’s Park | National Ellipse, DC
When: Starting Saturday
Admission: Free

The National Christmas Tree, the National Menorah, plus trains and displays representing all 50 states will be accessible for viewing starting Saturday.  It’s a staple on many a holiday activity repertoire.  The whole scene lit up at night with the White House and Washington Monument glowing in the distance makes for a brilliant holiday scene. There are often musical performances throughout the season, too.

Old Tyme Christmas
Where: Harpers Ferry, WV
When: Friday – Sunday (& December 8-10)
Admission: Free

Take a little road trip to experience some holiday magic! This two-weekend-only Christmas celebration offers seasonal activities for the whole family. Featuring historic tours, wagon rides, caroling, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, shopping at the Handmade Holiday Market, and much more. View the full schedule of activities here.

Dinosaur Park Open House
Where: Dinosaur Park | Laurel, MD
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Discover an ancient world right in Prince George’s County! On the first and third Saturdays of every month, Dinosaur Park in Laurel welcomes the public to their interpretive programs. Paleontologists and educators will display fossils, casts, and models of Astrodon johnstoni, Maryland’s state dinosaur, along with other 112 million-year-old creatures found there.

Skate Under the Sky
Where: Ice rinks around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

All of the local ice rinks are open for the season, so get out there for some cold weather recreation!  Skate amid art at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, with river views at Washington Harbour, or above the river at The Wharf.  Or enjoy skating at one of many other area rinks.  See this post for details on all of the places you can glide the day (and night) away.

Heurich Christmas Markt
Where: Heurich House Museum | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: $10-16/ages 15+ and $2/ages 2-15

Heurich House’s annual holiday market, Christkindlmarkt, is back this weekend. Stroll through the festive German-style craft market from the Heurich House garden up New Hampshire Ave towards Dupont Circle to find holiday gifts. The Markt will feature over 50 local small-scale makers, a mcaini exhibit about the historic revival of the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co.’s Senate Beer, children’s ornament making, and more!  Hours are Friday 4-8pm, Saturday 12-8pm, and Sunday 12-6pm.  (PS:  There are some other holiday markets happening this weekend — see them all here.)

Bethesda Winter Wonderland
Where: Norfolk & Cordell Avenues | Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season in downtown Bethesda with Santa Claus, live ice sculpting, live music, and more! At this annual outdoor street bazaar, see blocks of ice transformed into wintery works of art before your eyes, enjoy a student concert, and partake in more festive activities.

Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
Where: Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

The 52nd annual Scottish Christmas Walk will be a showcase of marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and more. The parade usually begins at St. Asaph and Wilkes Streets and ends at Market Square with a massed band concert – rain or shine.

First Saturday at NGA
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free
The NGA’s monthly program will celebrate the winter season with holiday card making, face painting, and more. Free activities for all ages will take over the East Building this weekend. Author and illustrator Susan Stockdale will read her children’s book during a bilingual Storytime program (on Friday morning, too). You can also stop at a station with supplies in the atrium to create a holiday card for loved ones, visit the pop-up library, explore one of  the new exhibitions (the Mark Rothko is wonderful!), and more.

Where: Franklin Park | Downtown DC
When: Starting Saturday through December 17
Admission: Free

Step into an illuminated winter extravaganza as Franklin Park is transformed into a glistening Frosted wonderland aglow with thousands of lights. There will be lots of fun holiday festivities to enjoy, too… this weekend witness holiday toys come to life during the Favorite Christmas Toys Parade, watch artists create ice sculptures, see stories illuminated, browse the makers market, and more.  See the schedule of festivities on the website.

Holly Trolley Fest
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum | Colesville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4:30pm
Admission: $10/adults, $8/ages 2-17 (includes unlimited rides)
Explore a unique DC area museum this holiday season. Visit with Santa down our mile-long woodland railroad, featuring a holiday ride on our historic street cars. In addition, enjoy a holiday model railroad display in collaboration with the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society, crafts for children, photo opportunities, and more.

The District’s Holiday Boat Parade
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 6-9pm

Admission: Free
It’s the 30th anniversary of an iconic DC holiday event:  The District’s Holiday Boat Parade, featuring over 60 festively decorated boats parading along the Washington Channel. On land at The Wharf, spectators can get into the spirit with ornament decorating, roasting s’mores at the Camp Wharf fire pit (for purchase), visiting the lighted 45-ft Christmas Tree, and skating at The Wharf Ice Rink ($10-13).  Plan on pictures with Santa, too!

Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights
Where: Alexandria City Marina | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria’s harbor will also shine as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront for the 21st annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Enjoy festivities out on the dock 1-5:30pm and a holiday bazaar and food options 3-7pm. And stop in the Torpedo Factory were there will be a holiday festival, too. The parade begins at 5:30pm.

Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit, there is plenty of it!  The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre is a classic that will enchant audiences of all ages.  Dorrance Dance is also presenting  a tap dancing version at the Kennedy Center. Or take littles to see a version on strings at The Puppet Co.  Adventure Theatre has a wonderful production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre (review here). Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2023 Guide to the Holiday Season.

(W)Hoop it Up!
Where: Universities around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets prices vary

The college hoops season is happening, and with so many universities in the area, there’s always some good on court going on. Here’s what you can see this weekend:
American men vs St. Francis on Saturday at 2pm
* Catholic men vs Wilkes on Saturday at 2pm
* Catholic women on Saturday at 4pm
* Georgetown men vs TCU on Saturday at 5pm
* Maryland women vs George Mason on Sunday at 1pm (Go, Terps!)

Season’s Treatings: Holiday Gingerbread Decorating
Where: The Garden at Building Momentum | Alexandria, VA
When: December 3, 10:30am – 12pm & 1-2:30pm
Admission: $35-250

Join UpCycle Creative Reuse Center to unleash your creativity and decorate gingerbread houses . Get into the holiday spirit and indulge in the joy of creating edible masterpieces. Sign up in advance!

Chocolate Binge Festival
Where: Downtown Annapolis, MD
When: December 3, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $5

Everyone loves chocolate and Annapolis will be celebrating by filling West Street with all things chocolate to help chocoholics get through the holiday season. Prepare your sweet tooth with an afternoon of chocolate decadence as over 20 local and regional chocolatiers vend their specialties, plus make s’mores at a bonfire in the street, and enjoy hot cocoa. The Festival will also feature family friendly entertainment, lots of holiday shopping, and the lighting of West Street’s BGE Holiday Light Canopy.

Holiday Market
Where: Congressional Cemetery | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Hit a holiday market in an unexpected place: a cemetery!  For the first time ever the Historic Congressional Cemetery is hosting a holiday market, featuring one-of-a kind gifts, hand crafted treasures, and delectable treats, all made by local makers, bakers, artists, and vendors.  Even better, it a really cool place that is interesting to explore anytime (one of my most frequented spots int he city with Teddy the Aussiedude).  Dogs on leash are welcome to the market, too!

Dreidel Workshop
Where: Home Depot | 901 Rhode Island Ave NE, DC
When: December 3, 1:30-2:30pm
Admission: Free
How about a DYI project to celebrate the upcoming holiday? Kids can make a dreidel game boards using wood, hammers, etc. There will also be chocolate coins, music, and other Chanukah goodies! Be sure to register in advance!

Inside Info
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

Looks like there may be some wet weather this weekend, so if you’re seeking indoor fun or just want ideas for extra activities, there are plenty of options for things to do inside. This post has over 100 suggestions.

* In case you missed it, there’s a new post with 5 festive, kid-friendly destinations for the holiday season, all within 3 hours from DC.
* Hanukkah begins this coming week, and if you’re looking for ways to celebrate, the KFDC Holiday Guide has a whole section of ideas!
Have you seen all the KFDC gift guides?  There are recommendations for little kids, teens, grown ups, and gift that are DC-inspired.
This “Parents Are People” episode of This American Life is a really good listen.
* We saw Dream Scenario last weekend, and it was fantastic. Such an interesting premise, and Nicolas Cage once again shows why he is one of the best actors around (and it all started with this totally awesome gem).
* Has anyone tried the viral butter candle recipe?
* Don’t mess with Dolly 💙


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Filed under 2023, DC, Fall, Holidays, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend

5 Festive, Kid-Friendly Destinations for the Holiday Season — Within 3 Hours!

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of three young children, who just visited Koziar’s Christmas Village with her family.  She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ activities around the DC area as well as products for little ones and more — see all of them here.]


Mix it up this holiday season with a quick getaway to a festive destination! When you feel like you’ve seen and done it all around DC, or just want to add a little extra magic to the season, road-trip-it to one of these locations less than three hours away from the DC metro area — and maybe make some fun stops on the way. Your kids will love the thrill of it all (and, for overnighters, your heavily-tinseled hotel)!



Koziar’s Christmas Village – Bernville, PA
Experience an old-timey Christmas Village unlike anything in the DC area. The self-guided tour features a 75-year-old collection of lights and decor, housed displays of memorabilia, a garage of vintage sleighs, gift barns for your holiday shopping, and snack shops with candy cane straws for your hot cocoa. Arrive early to avoid long lines into the winter wonder-farm-land.

Festive stops along the way: Dutch Winter Wonderland, Strasburg Rail Road Christmas Train Experiences


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Photo: Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Christmas Town – Williamsburg, VA
Go for the big thrills with a holiday celebration at this popular amusement park. Enjoy spectacular light displays, over 25 rides and coasters (many with a 48” height requirement), live entertainment and shows, the Mistletoe Marketplace, a holiday scavenger hunt, visits with Santa and Rudolph, and much more.

Festive stops along the way: Christmas in Williamsburg, Christmas at Mount Vernon


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Photo: Experience Harpers Ferry

Old Tyme Christmas – Harpers Ferry, WV
This two-weekend-only Christmas celebration offers seasonal activities for the whole family. Featuring historic tours, wagon rides, caroling, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, shopping at the Handmade Holiday Market, and much more. View the full schedule of activities for December 1-3 and December 9-10 here.

Festive stops along the way: The Old Lucketts Store, Christmas in Middleburg


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Sesame Place “A Very Furry Christmas” – Langhorne, PA
Bring the littles to a holiday celebration with their favorite Sesame Street friends. This amusement park is transformed with millions of twinkling lights and festive decorations. In addition to fun rides, you can sing and dance along at music and light shows, and enjoy the Sesame Street Christmas Parade with festive floats.

Festive stops along the way: Baltimore’s B&O Polar Express & Christmas Village, Longwood Gardens, Philadelphia’s Christmas Village & Macy’s Christmas Light Show


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Photo: Schellville

Schellville Enchanted Winter Celebration – Rehoboth Beach, DE
Head to the beach for this family-friendly event with endless activities—most included with your free admission. Featuring live music, train rides, sledding, roller skating, maze of lights, play house village, holiday shopping, beer garden, and visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. You can even splurge on a heated Alpenglobe.

Festive stops along the way: Berlin’s Christmas Parade & Hanukkah Celebration, Chocolate Binge Festival


What is your favorite festive destination? Let us know in the comments!



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Filed under 2023, Destination from DC, Maryland, Virginia

Five Things: November 28, 2023



1.  It’s Giving Tuesday! If you want some ideas for where to donate, the GIVE page here on the blog has a long list of charities and causes, all of them shared by KFDC readers. If you have one you’d like to highlight, leave a comment on that page or on these Five Things, and I’ll add it.


2. If you’d like to give your time to organizations that help those in need, the post about Volunteer Opportunities Around the DC Area Where Kids Can Help Out , Too is a good one to check out.


3.  The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting takes place TONIGHT at 5pm!  If you didn’t score tickets in the lottery to the National Christmas Tree Lighting, this is a great alternative to viewing a tree illumination at an iconic DC spot.  While you can’t get up close, you can easily watch from across the street by the Reflecting Pool. The moment the lights come on is always so delightful — see last year’s here.  And great idea: Go to Season’s Greenings at the US Botanic Garden beforehand!  See where more tree lightings are happening around the area.  And plan for menorah lightings (and more Chanukah events) starting next week.


4. 100 notable books of 2023.  (Just added this to my list. Getting this one for my mom.)


5. Cold weather clothing options for tweens 🤣




Filed under 2023, DC, Fall, Five Things

The 2023 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide: Grown Ups



You’ve likely seen the gift guides with suggestions for DC experiences and the one especially for teens… and now here’s a round-up of gift ideas for the adults in your life.  (And maybe some inspiration for your wish list too.) Happy Gifting!



Softest Sweaters
Cashmere always makes a great gift — it’s luxurious and useful (so warm for winter) — and the kind of item some people may not splurge on for themselves. There are also so many amazing sales on sweaters to take advantage of right now!

Naked Cashmere – Great quality sweaters…love mine.  (For men, too.)

Jenni Kayne – Most splurgy, but supposedly amazing.

Naadam – Sooo many style options. (For men, too.)

Reformation – Soft and chic.

J. Crew  – Relatively lower price points. (For men, too)

Quince – Cashmere starting at just $50.




Accessories — Luxe and Fun
A perfect way to give them something really nice, without going full splurge on a large item. Or a great way to give them something practical and/or fun.

Scarf – Super soft cashmere or a really pretty color combo.

Winter Hat – Soft and splurgy or colorful and fun. And options for him.

Gorgeous Earrings – Colorful beaded dangles or  simple but statement-making.

Fun Socks – The best gift socks and currently on sale.

Sunglasses – Really good and reasonably priced.  This brand, too.





Boot Season
With the cold weather coming, help them keep their tooties warm and stylish.

Ugg Ultra Minis – Just received a pair for my birthday and love… like slippers that also make a cute outfit.

Blundstones – Great, cold weather boots for men and women.

Hunters – Classic rain boots for all.

Hiking Boots – For outdoorsy peops, upgrade their footwear,




Kitchen & Dining Delights
If they love to cook and entertain, here are a few things to up their enjoyment.

Vitamix Blender – Gifting this would be a smooth(ie) move

Ninja Portable Blender – For smoothies on the go — and if you don’t want to go all in on a Vitamix.

Dutch Oven – Le Crueset is the standard. (Or Amazon Basics is much less expensive and gets good reviews.)

Pasta Maker – Guaranteed to elicit grazies!

Pitcher – How beautiful is this?



Give a Game 
For family and friends who love to play, from board games to ball games.

Azul – I’ve recommended this a lot because it’s my favorite. (Another version.)

Parks – An indoorsy gift for outdoorsy peops.

Monikers – This party game gets great reviews.

Clue Conspiracy – An adult version of the classic.

Pickleball Set – Everybody’s doing it.

Bocce Set – If they like lawn games.




Creature Comforts
Gifts that keep them cozy at home.

Plush Robe – For him, too.

Slippers – Keep those tootsies toasty. (For her, too.)

Sweat Set – So soft and comfy. (For him, too)

Cozy Blanket – Snuggle up.

Good Books – A few recommendations:  Tom Lake, The Covenant of Water, I Have Some Questions for You, Trust.




Pampering Experiences
Make them feel coddled with some relaxation or sprucing up.

Balian Springs Day Spa – I recently spent a day at this spa with indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, saunas, an infrared area, and a great cafe — and it was wonderful. Kind of like a nicer Spa World (which I also like) but without the required nakedness.

Massage – Go for upscale at the Four Seasons in Georgetown. And here are some more to check out.

Mani-Pedi – Give a pampering sesh at nailsaloon — locations in Logan Circle and Capitol Hill.

Float Therapy – I haven’t tried it, but hear it’s very relaxing.

Dry Bar – For giftees who like regular blow-outs.


Great Getaways
Gift the whole fam or just the adults (or even just your partner) an escape to a driving-distance resort — or maybe even a destination further away.

Salamander Resort – A luxury spot in Middleburg, VA, with awesome amenities (for all ages) and a location near great wineries.

Tides Inn – A lovely, relaxing resort on Carter’s Creek, which leads to the Chesapeake.

Jim Thorpe – Plan a trip to this fun, quirky PA town that’s especially great for outdoorsy peops.

Greece – Go all out and gift your family an awesome vacation! (Portugal is pretty fantastic, too!)

Travel Gift Card – For American Airlines… or Delta or Southwest.



For Those with the Mostest
If you’re going to a gathering during the season, bring a little gift for the hosts.

Salt Pig – A friend gave me one last year, and I love it.

Cheese Knives – A simple, pretty set.

Candles – A colorful, twisted, tapered set.

Coffee – Infused with bourbon.

Traders Joe’s Goodies – In a pinch, pick up a few things like this, this, or this.




Just For Fun
Random suggestions for shits and giggles.

Best Coffee Mug – Repeat from last year, but so good.

Cocktail Recipe Book – With a literary twist.

Custom Photo Ornament – For the tree… or the rearview mirror.

Bubble Umbrella – Genius design, imo.

New York Times Games –  For those who  love word puzzles.


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Filed under 2023, Holidays, Product, Shop

The Weekend Round-Up:
November 23-26

The wonderful pollinator themed model train display at Season’s Greenings


Happy  Thanksgiving… and, as always, Happy Weekend!

Link up to posts full of ideas for local fun:
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* The Great Indoors
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
Autumn Adventures
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Kid-Friendly Eats
* Bike Rides
* Baltimore with Kids
* Peaceful Places

Thanksgiving Day Play
Where: Around the DC area
When: Thursday (and beyond)
Admission: Varies by activity

How about a side of recreation to go with your Thanksgiving meal? If you’re looking for pre- or post-feast activities, this post suggests some ways to complement the main event of the day.

Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

This initiative started by REI a few years ago was so good it became one of the most popular hashtags… Skip the Black Friday shopping (or do it off-hours online) and get out to enjoy some family QT outdoors. You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for adventures in the fresh air. Take a hike, hit a playground, explore a garden, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with loads of inspiration for fun in the sun.

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Through January 1, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

DC’s most popular holiday attraction just opened for the season. The highlight is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs — all of them constructed of plant materials.  This year’s pollinator theme is adorable , and kids will love seeing model trains chug around  The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks also constructed from plant materials — see if you can find all 22 of them! Get a glimpse of the train, and be sure to make a plan to see it all this holiday season!

Crafting for the Holidays
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday & Saturday, 10:30am – 3:30pm
Admission: Free

A great activity with the kids over Thanksgiving weekend… Join the Library of Congress for a family crafting program to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. Learn about the Library’s holiday collections while you take part in crafting activities for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and more.

Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Friday & Saturday, 5-9pm & Sunday, 6-9pm
Admission: $6

For the first time, this beloved light display is not free admission. But it’s the same fun, festive seasonal joy at a favorite DC spot.  Thousands of environmentally-friendly lights and animal lanterns transform the Zoo into a holiday wonderland in the evenings. There are also live music performances, tasty winter treats, and lots of opportunities for holiday shopping.

Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Evenings throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Even more twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Several parks and gardens in the area have transformed into sparkling wonderlands. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate — it doesn’t get much cozier than that.

Native American Heritage Day: Honoring the Jingle Dress Dance
Where: American Indian Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, 11:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Learn about the origin and significance of the jingle dress and Jingle Dress Dance with dancers Misty Solorio (Brokenhead Ojibway First Nation/Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation), Jennifer Night Bird Miller (Red River Métis), and Nathan Solorio (Brokenhead Ojibway First Nation/Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation). The dancers will be accompanied by father-and-son duo Ralph Zotigh (Kiowa/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo/Isante Dakota Indian) and Dennis Zotigh (Kiowa/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo/Isante Dakota Indian). Performances begin at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1pm, 3pm, and 4pm.

Caps vs. Oilers
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary 

Watch some sports action on ice. The Caps are hosting the Edmonton Oilers on Friday afternoon. Plan on a pre-game lunch in Penn Quarter — there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood — or some time at the Downtown Holiday Market.

Small Business Saturday
Where: Around the DC area
When: Saturday
Admission: Free, but plan to buy & support local

If you’re planning to do some holiday shopping this weekend, make a point of going to local, independent stores, both to score great, unique gifts and to support people and places that help make our communities thrive. The KFDC Holiday Gift Guide: DC-Inspired has all kinds of suggestions for gifts from many local businesses.

Penguin Ornament Workshop
Where: Home Depot locations around DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Head to Home Depot for their free monthly workshop that welcomes kids to complete a hands-on project, this weekend a penguin ornament to hang on your holiday tree. All attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All supplies are provided, including a little apron, and kids get to keep their craft along with a certificate of achievement and collectible pin (while supplies last).  Register in advance!

Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Starts Friday 0 December 24
Admission: $32+/adult, $24+/age 3-17

Explore the 90,000-square foot Christmas light maze, this year with a “Santa’s Magic Timepiece” theme. Stroll through lighted tunnels, travel to magical illuminated lands as you search for stars, and find your way to the 100-foot tall Christmas tree.  Held at Nationals Park, Enchant Christmas also features an ice skating trail, live entertainment, food and drink, a Play Place just for little ones, a Christmas market,  and Santa and Mrs. Claus.  View scenes from last year’s event and read a KFDC review (from the first season it was here in 2019) of this newer-to-DC holiday attraction.

Recreation on Ice
Where: Ice rinks around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

With sunny skies and cool temps in the forecast, conditions over the next few days should be great for outdoor ice skating. Many ice rinks have already opened for the season, and Canal Park in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood will be joining starting Friday.  See this post for details on all of the places you can glide the day (and night) away!

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Tickets: $25

In a two-person version of the classic tale, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy discover a secret portal to a magical world called Narnia. With an evil White Witch ruling the kingdom, can Lucy, her new friend Mr. Tumnus, and her family band together to save this land from the eternal winter?

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit, it’s starting!  The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre is a classic that will enchant audiences of all ages.  Or take littles to see a version on strings at The Puppet Co.  Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2023 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Holiday Tree Lighting + Santa Firetruck Parade
Where: Mosaic District | Fairfax, VA
When: Friday, 6-9pm
Admission: Free

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer! Join the Mosaic District to welcome the arrival of the holiday season with a merry and bright tree lighting. Bring your family and friends to experience the Jolly Man’s arrival on a firetruck. Visitors can also meet and greet Santa in the Target lobby after the tree lighting and enjoy live entertainment from 6-9pm and a holiday parade from 6:30-6:45pm. The Tree Lighting is at 7:15pm.

10th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting
Where: CityCenter | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 5-7pm
Admission: Free
Kick off the holiday season and celebrate 10 years of CityCenterDC at their annual holiday tree lighting! The evening will include a joyful music performance by fan favorite, The Revels, balloon artists, face painters, holiday treats, and more. Enjoy the dazzling 75-foot tree, see two resident 25-foot reindeer, and capture the spirit of the holidays with a photo under our Palmer Alley Dream Closet art installation.

Wizards vs Hawks
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission: Tickets prices vary (check for discount)

The Wizards are playing at home on Saturday evening — watch them work some on-court magic against the Atlanta Hawks. Plan on a pre-game dinner in Penn Quarter — there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood. Some recs: Jaleo, Carmine’s, Daikaya, Shake Shack, and Hill Country BBQ… details on these and more here.

College Hoops
Where: Colleges around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

With so many universities in the area, there’s always some good hoops action going on — and it’s also a great time for families. Here are some games you can catch this weekend:
* Georgetown men vs Jackson State on Saturday at 12pm
* George Mason men vs East Carolina on Saturday at 2pm
* Maryland men vs South Alabama on Saturday at 7pm (Go, Terps!)
* American men vs Hood College on Sunday at 4pm

Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There’s still some autumn splendor left to enjoy. With pleasant temps and foliage still brightening the landscape, this weekend will be a good time to relish in the season. This post has recommendations for where to savor it around the area.

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through D2cember 23, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

Make a plan to visit sometime during the season.  This one, to me, is the holiday market in DC. It’s not even so much about the merchandise for sale (though there’s always an excellent variety of gift items — I never leave empty handed). There’s something about the usually bustling block in the middle of Penn Quarter transforming into an open air market for a few weeks that is so charming and kind of magical, making our big city feel like a small town. A bonus is the free live entertainment along with treats and coffee drinks available for purchase. And after you’ve done your shopping and enjoyed a snack and music, you can pop into the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum that are literally right next to the market.

Off the Beaten Museum Path
Where: Around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by museum

If you want to do some indoor exploring, consider a not-so-well-known place.  Because if you don’t veer from the well trodden path of the National Mall now and then, you could miss out on some amazing museum exhibits and experiences. Check out this round-up of some these places in DC that may not be on your museum radar — but should be.

* The holiday season is officially in full swing, so the 2023 KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season Around DC will be good to keep handy.
* Holiday shopping season is also officially in full swing, so be sure to check out all the KFDC gift guides for ideas:  DC-Inspired, Teen Scene, Little Kids, Adults
* Good tips for Thanksgiving.
* One of my favorite instructors at the gym just started a podcast on fitness.
* I don’t usually watch the series, but this season of the show somehow reeled me in — and the long weekend is a golden opportunity to binge it.
* Can’t stress enough how great Rakuten, an online service that gives you cash back on shopping, is during the holiday season.
Anyone else love Farm Rio?  If so, you’ll love 50% off even more.
* Simple and beautiful.❤️


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Filed under 2023, DC, Fall, Holidays, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend